March 21, 2020
The parishes in Arizona have been given a blessing by His Eminence to distribute Holy Communion to the faithful as follows:
1) The Divine Liturgy will be conducted as specified by the Archdiocese, with only the minimum number of people needed to offer the service. If you have not been contacted directly by Fr. Jeffrey to serve, you will not be permitted to enter the Church during the Divine Liturgy.
2) After speaking with Fr. Andrew, our Vicar, we established some sort of protocol, particular to our community, in order to distribute Holy Communion on Sundays to those who desire to receive.
Instructions for Sunday mornings, and Wednesday Presanctified Liturgy:
- Parishioners are asked to come to the church and wait in their car.
- On Sundays, plan to arrive at 10:30 am.
- On Wednesdays, plan to arrive at 6:30 pm.
- One of the two servers will go up to the parking lot and let each family/individual know when they may enter the church.
- The family, or individual, will sanitize their hands as they enter the church, say the usual prayers before communion of the Liturgy (which will be on a stand), receive Holy Communion, and exit through the door to the left of the iconostasis which will be open.
This is a strange situation, and will likely change from week to week.
I strongly encourage all of our people to stay home in general, except for necessities (prayer being one of those necessities, which is why the church will be open for private prayer during the week: see our calendar here.)
But I think we all know that the desire for participation in the Lord’s life-giving body and blood has only increased during this time. This is the only way that we can accommodate that desire for now. And of course, things may change.
Furthermore, all of the above presupposes all of the other recommendations that we have received thus far: no kissing icons; no kissing the priest’s hand, or chalice; spread out at least six feet; and if you are sick, absolutely do not leave your home unless to seek medical care (and please contact me, if you are in need of assistance).
I also want to remind everyone that the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops has stated unambiguously that it is not a sin to just stay home during this time. No one is in any position to judge anyone else’s faith.
Again, all of this is subject to change in the coming days.
With much love in Christ,
Asking for your forgiveness and patience as well,